Alcohol Part Three

I’ve talked about alcohol a bit over the past few months, mainly my decision to quit drinking and the emotions around it. Well, I had been getting the feeling of “why do I have to quit, why not just casually have a drink here or there?” so I let myself enjoy our recent vacation with drinks.

I went 100 days without alcohol and definitely changed my tolerance and my taste. Seltzers weren’t as tasty anymore. Wine was. Bloody Marys were. The taste in my mouth after a few drinks, not so much.

I could immediately tell a difference in my mood, my digestion, and how my body felt. It wasn’t enjoyable. The taste of wine was definitely enjoyable. The rest, not so much.

The last day I had drinks was at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. I tried a few tasty things. I got buzzed. But I was ready to cleanse my system of all of the alcohol. I wanted it out. I wanted to feel as great as I had before. I was done.

I made the decision that day that giving up alcohol isn’t something I need to do, it’s something I want to do. I truly feel like a different person without alcohol in my system. It took me taking 100 days away from drinking and then allowing myself to drink freely while on vacation to realize that alcohol no longer serves me. It kinda feels like I made my peace with my drinking days and my decision that I don’t need or want to drink again.

I had felt like I was putting a part of me on hold. I didn’t. I was exploring and learning who I was without this toxin in my body. Yes, alcohol is a toxin. No, I’m not going to get crazy about telling you not to drink. I feel freer to enjoy life now that I know that while I enjoy the taste of wine and some mixed drinks, I don’t enjoy the effects on me.

For me, it is just like wheat and products with gluten. Since I have Celiac Disease, I get royally fucked up if I eat anything with gluten. I gave it up so easily because I wanted to feel better. Now, I am freely giving up alcohol because I want to feel better.

This doesn’t mean I’ll never drink again, but I probably won’t. I won’t buy alcohol for myself. I won’t plan vacations to go drinking. I am going to live my life without focusing on ‘what if’ I had alcohol.

I can’t wait for my body to recover from the alcohol I had on vacation so I can get to feeling my best self again.

Vulnerability

img_20191001_064230_0320004663565363616592013.jpg

I never thought I would openly quote Chelsea Handler in anything motivational. I honestly do love listening to her comedy and really connected with her when I was younger. I chose to buy Life Will Be the Death of Me: …And You Too! on Audible thinking it was another comedic book that Eddie and I could listen to on our most recent road trip.

I was wrong. While there was a lot to laugh about, there were plenty of life lessons to be learned. This time, I connected with Chelsea in a different way. I saw so much of myself in what she was saying and sharing. We had different experiences, but I relate to her emotions throughout the book.

After Chelsea told her story, she shared wisdom with the reader. That’s when I heard her say “vulnerability is strength.” I had never thought of vulnerability of being anything close to strength.

You see, I have spent pretty much all of my life trying to not be vulnerable. I couldn’t stand being vulnerable and any moment that I felt it brought on horrible anxiety. Vulnerability is not something I was willing to welcome into my life. I can look back now and see that when I was my most vulnerable, I would lash out and be a pretty big bitch. It burst the bubble of vulnerability that was building and it felt better. In that moment.

Most of the regrets I do have are of these lashing out moments. I am personally working through a moment from as recent as last Christmas. I had been drinking all day and was sitting down to try to play some gambling card game (I think blackjack) and my husband was dealing it all wrong. It was not how you played the game. He tried to explain to me that there are multiple ways to play the game and I was not having it. I lashed out. And now I regret it.

If I had sat in the vulnerability and learned the new way of playing the card game, everything would have been just fine. But because I was vulnerable because I didn’t know how to play it his way, I got lost in my anxiety and fear. When I don’t know something, I feel stupid. When I don’t know something I am vulnerable. When I don’t know something, I do everything possible to not let it be known that I don’t know it so I don’t appear stupid.

As I’m talking this out with you, I’m recognizing that I equate vulnerability to feeling or being stupid. I believe this comes from growing up and the way not knowing something was treated by my parents. And by the kids I went to school with.

I am stuck in the mindset that vulnerability is a bad thing. No matter how much I’ve tried to change my mind about it, I am still in the same place. Sometimes we have to unpack things more and more before we can truly learn.

Vulnerability is strength.

Just those words together give me anxiety. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to be stupid. I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be vulnerable.

I am being vulnerable right now by sharing this with you. I am not stupid, although my anxiety is telling me different. I am not weak, even though every fiber of my being is saying I am.

Vulnerability is strength.

This is something I need to sit with and work through. How can I be more vulnerable in my life? With my friends? With my family? How can I overcome the anxiety that plagues me anytime I am vulnerable?

I don’t have these answers yet. But I am going to sit with vulnerability and I am going to find new ways to work through it.

“Vulnerability is strength.” Chelsea Handler

When Alcohol is Love

As I started reading the chapter When Food is Love in The Soul Frequency by Shanna Lee, I immediately had light bulbs going off and bells dinging all around my mind. I’m pretty sure it all started with just the title of the chapter.

I had my last drink of alcohol 45 days ago. Since then I’ve done really well. Until this last week. I wanted the taste of wine so bad. I looked forward to events coming up and felt sadness around not drinking alcohol of any form. I associate alcohol with almost everything in my life.

It’s not like I need the effects of alcohol for any reason, I literally just want the taste of it. I have fought for so many years not to be considered an alcoholic like my parents and I can still say, I am not an alcoholic. That isn’t why I quit alcohol. For why, read Alcohol Part One and Alcohol Part Two.

But I digress.

When I read the title of the chapter, When Food is Love, it was like a slap in the face. DUH! Of course that explains everything. Alcohol is what helped me to break free of the worst of my shyness. Alcohol is what helped me make friends with the popular kids. Alcohol is what made most of my future friends. Alcohol is how I let loose from my fear of so many things. Alcohol has been love for me.

As I look back at the years since I started drinking, so much of the love I felt came when alcohol was involved. Love is why I look at events coming up and don’t know what to do without alcohol. I’ll tell you what I do at these events: DRINK WATER!!!

Alcohol is not love. Now that I have identified my emotions around alcohol, I can begin to retrain them.

Alcohol Part Two

If you haven’t read Alcohol Part One, go back and read that entry first.

The social aspect of drinking is a big one within my friend’s group and family. Wine nights, wine chats, camping, pool parties, barbeques, holidays, and just hanging out are just some of the times that alcohol is a beverage of choice. Hell, my girlfriend’s and I used to even grab a drink at lunch when we worked together.

But that all is going to change now. I’m going to be one of the only people who is not drinking. It is terrifying. This is when I’m going to struggle the most. I will have peer pressure from some people. I have never held up well to peer pressure. Or being different. That’s why I started drinking in the first place.

What I have to remember is that this is my choice. I made the choice to stop drinking because of how it affected me. It does not matter one bit what anyone else says. This is my decision and if they can’t respect it, then that is their problem.

I feel like our society has conditioned so many of us that alcohol is part of everything we do. I mean, how many TV shows do you watch where there is no drinking. I can’t think of any. Some of my shows have it included very subtly, they don’t focus on it, but it is there. Some have people drinking all the time. I can think of one show where I have not seen one other beverage in it. Alcohol is everywhere.

I’m not saying alcohol is a bad thing. For many people, it isn’t. For me, it wasn’t for a long time. But when you are going from drinking with all of your friends and family, and at all social events, it will be difficult to convince people why you quit drinking and that you aren’t going to have a drink “just this once.”

I even have a ton of wine glasses in my cabinets. What the hell am I going to do with those? I mean, my friends just got me a few new ones for my birthday. And I love them!! Wine glasses are one of those things that typically don’t ever have anything else in them. But I’m going to convert them. At least the ones I really like. The rest I’ll sell at a yard sale. Or keep for when my friends come over and want a drink.

Alcohol. It is literally everywhere. When you decided to stop drinking, you really realize how engrained in your life it is. But if you have that gut feeling or little voice telling you it is time to set aside that drink, do it. It might not be easy, but you’ll thank yourself for it.

It has only been three days since I had a few drinks, and I can already feel so much more clarity. My period is supposed to start in a couple days and I’m not as easily irritated as usual. I feel more motivated and energized every day. My joint pain is gone again. I don’t feel bloated.

If you decided to leave alcohol behind, you might not see changes that fast. I’m sure I’m seeing it that fast because I spent most of the last month not drinking.

Follow your heart. Follow that inner voice if it is telling you that you need to change. I am finally following mine and so far, I’m pretty dang happy about it.

Alcohol Part One

When we think of alcohol, we think of many types as well as different types of people who drink it. When someone talks about alcohol like I’m about to, I get uncomfortable. And that’s why I’m sharing this with you.

A little history:

I grew up in a home with a drug addict, alcoholic father and a pill addicted, maybe alcoholic mother. I don’t know whether to say my mother was alcoholic because I can’t say for sure that she couldn’t stop drinking or that she had the need for it like my father.

I started drinking when I was 14. First, one of my friends would steal vodka from her dad with the good old water trick. Then, as I started hanging out with more and more of the wrong crowd, I started drinking with them. I drank pretty heavily for many years.

Alcohol is how I came out of my introvert shell and made “friends”. I let loose and just had fun. Alcohol helped me to not worry about people-pleasing as much. Alcohol helped me when I was lonely. Alcohol was a friend.

I did a lot of dumb shit with alcohol, including regularly drinking and driving. My parents ALWAYS drove no matter how much they had to drink. It was normal. Eddie actually helped break me of this and I am eternally grateful.

Over the past few years, I haven’t been as carefree with alcohol. There are definitely times that I did have a ton of fun and let loose, but it became more and more frequent that something would trigger an emotional breakdown. Usually it happened a few drinks in. And it would happen when I wasn’t drinking too. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking completely for my surgery that I noticed this happening. It was like a weight had been lifted that I didn’t even know I had.

I thought it was my hormones that were causing this roller coaster of emotions. I had attributed it to my monthly cycle and the synthetic hormones from IVF completely messing me up. I’ve even been working with a doctor and taking hormones to try to regulate them.

I didn’t notice this change right away. It took me slowly allowing alcohol back into my life more consistently. I noticed it and decided to quit. I was going to quit drinking completely.

But, I missed the taste. So I would be really good some times and just imbibe other times. Then I realized that my hips started hurting again, but only after having a few drinks the day before. Every break of a week or so of not drinking cleared up the joint pain and I felt clearer emotionally.

Once I connected the joint pain and did a little research to learn there is something called inflammatory arthritis, I decided I was done. I don’t know that I have this inflammatory arthritis condition, but it could be possible and it could explain my physically reaction to alcohol.

I gave myself two more days of enjoying alcohol and then I would quit for good.

I don’t consider myself an alcoholic because I don’t need it. I just really do love the flavor. But, I can adjust my mindset on loving the flavor of wine and mixed drinks by doing exactly what I did to quit Dr. Pepper – it hurts me and if I have a drink, I will be in pain. I did the same thing when I eliminated gluten from my diet with the Celiac diagnosis.

It is about my mind control and knowing what is good and what isn’t. I’ve done it before and I’m going to do it again.

But not drinking is the easy part. The difficult part is reprogramming both myself and my family and friends to not expect me to be drinking with them at all of the functions where we all drink. It is the social aspect.

Stay tuned for Alcohol Part Two